How does identity theft happen? Criminals use their access to personal data such as names, telephone numbers, Social Security Numbers, and bank and credit card information. Using the stolen data, the criminal can fraudulently obtain credit cards, buy items over the Internet, and even establish cellular phone accounts.
Complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about identity theft have doubled each year since the
Commission began compiling its complaint database. For more information: www.ed.gov/misused
ED cares about the privacy of your personal information. The information you share with us via our secure websites (e.g., www.fafsa.ed.gov and www.pin.ed.gov) goes through a process called encryption. Encryption uses a mathematical formula to scramble your data into a format that is unreadable by anyone who might intercept it. This is how we do our part to keep your information safe—but you need to do yours as well.
If you become a victim of identity theft or suspect that your student information has been stolen, contact:
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Inspector General Hotline
complain online: www.ed.gov/misused
Federal Trade Commission
complain online: www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Social Security Administration
Equifax Credit Bureau
Experian Information Solutions (Formerly TRW)
TransUnion Credit Bureau